1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
There are three major kinds of love identified by three Greek words; eros, phileo, and agape.
We are most familiar with eros love, or romantic love.
As its name indicates, eros is passionate or sexual love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). The second major kind of love is phileo the Greek word for friendship love.
Agape is Not Self Seeking
The Greek phrase for "not self seeking" literally means “does not seek the things of itself.” Self-focus, or self seeking is the antithesis of love. The cure to self-seeking is God-seeking. The remedy for selfishness is love. Love for God and others is a family trait of the believer because they are children of God.
Mark 12:28-31 NIV One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Some have mistakenly interpreted “love your neighbor as yourself” as teaching self-love in order to love others. But this is not what the Jesus is teaching in this passage. Self-love is apparent. Jesus was teaching that concern for others must equal the natural concern we have for ourselves. The Mosaic Law, which contained the commandments that the teacher that asked Jesus, was referring to read;
Leviticus 19:17-18 NIV Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt. ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord .
In context this deals with treating others fairly, without vengeance, and with love. It has no reference to self-love.
The focus should be on others.
Philippians 2:3-4 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
The person who demands his own way, who tramples on others’ rights for the sake of upholding his own, or who insists on having his due is not showing love. Love is considerate of others, always. The one who loves is willing to forgo recognition and lay down his rights for the sake of others. Jesus showed love in this way.
Mark 10:45 NIV For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Agape is not about us but about others. Putting love into practice involves following the example of Jesus, considering the needs and interests of others, and denying our personal desires in order to serve those in need.